"One hopes that this game will end soon"

    • 1789
      Graphic arts
      Colored etching

Faced with general discontent, King Louis XVI called together on May 5, 1789, the representatives of French society who had been elected during the Estates General at Versailles. There were 1,139 deputies. The deputies of the Third Estate, who were opposed to some of the deputies from the nobility and the clergy, decided to create a political assembly.

The three characters represent the clergy, in ecclesiastical clothes, and the nobility, wearing a plumed hat, crushing an old and poorly dressed peasant, who represents the Third Estate. The caricature denounces inequality and the burden represented by the first two Estates on the people, who pay almost all of the heavy taxes (taille, corvée, milice, etc.).

Over 1,500 satirical engravings were published from 1789 to 1799, demonstrating the success of this type of expression. The technique used—generally etching—was simple and low-cost, and prints were easy to distribute, usually as loose sheets. This frequently anonymous propaganda tool was immediately understandable and very effective.